For USC, there is good news and there is bad news.
There really is no need to go over the bad news. I'm sure no USC fans want to be reminded of that. So we'll skip to the good news and the fact that the Trojans have an opportunity to beat their other rival, Notre Dame, this Saturday who are currently coming in on a three game losing streak.
Beat Notre Dame and suddenly last week stings a little less. Also, beating Notre Dame should help the good news to keep on rolling in because the Trojans have some big time visitors heading to the Coliseum to watch the game this weekend. Right now USC has the ninth ranked recruiting class in the nation with seventeen commitments. With so many players they are still in the running for heading into December, a strong finish to the regular season versus Notre Dame and a good performance in a bowl game could go a long way into cementing what has the chance to be a top three class.
Instant impact commit(s)
I know it's taking the easy road to choose a junior college player, but right now the obvious choice is 4 star JC wide receiver De'Quan Hampton. The Trojans already have game breakers playing on the outside on offense and that's not Hampton's game. The 6'4" 220 recruit wins with size by boxing out cornerbacks and high pointing the football. He should be able to come in and be a player that is targeted in the red zone as well as be an asset in the run game with his blocking.
The other player that I can't deny having a chance to make an impact early in his career is 5 star offensive tackle Chuma Edoga. I'm sure the last thing anyone associated with the program wants is another freshman offensive lineman getting significant playing time next season, but Edoga is too exceptional to not be in the mix.
There is a nastiness to his game and a consistency with the way he finishes blocks. Combine that with his outstanding feet and balance and it makes him polished beyond his years. My only concern would be that he is light right now and needs to add weight. Fortunately, he is enrolling early so he'll get a head start on strength and conditioning which could be huge for his development by the time next fall rolls around.
Don't sleep on _______
A player that is really raw and needs a lot of refinement isn't the type of player I would usually spotlight as a sleeper because there are too many factors that need to go right for that player to develop into the player they could be. I'm making an exception with 3 star defensive lineman Noah Jefferson though because his physical skills are so impressive.
Jefferson flashes an explosive first step at times and awesome strength. He moves like a player much smaller than his size as well. He's undisciplined in his technique and his pad level is way too high at times, but I think it can be corrected over time with the proper coaching and a focus on playing one position (he lines up at several positions right now for his high school). If he works hard at improving the areas he needs to improve on, he has the athleticism to be develop into an disruptive interior pass rusher in a couple of years.
Big fish still on the reel
This list is too long to talk about everyone the Trojans are still in contention for, but they still are considered the favorite for several in-state players like 5 star cornerback Iman Marshall, 4 star athlete Ykili Ross, 4 star linebacker John Houston, 5 star defensive tackle Rasheem Green, and likely a lot of other players if they swooped in with a late offer. That's the power of being USC.
For this though, we'll focus on a couple of big time out of state players that the Trojans are in really good shape for. They are considered a heavy favorite for 4 star linebacker/defensive end Porter Gustin. Gustin plays at a small school in Utah, but is one of the most physically gifted prospects in this entire recruiting class. He's a good enough athlete to stick at linebacker, but may outgrow the position and transition to an edge player where he has the potential to be an awesome edge rusher.
The next player is visiting USC this weekend for the Notre Dame game just like Gustin. 4 star tight end Chris Clark was a Michigan commit, but is now open again after their debacle of a season. He might not play the greatest competition in Connecticut, but Clark is a physically dominant player that is capable of spreading out as a receiver and also could develop into a very good in-line blocker.
USC does not have a tight end committed in this class and adding one of the best at the position in the nation would be a huge coup for them.
This season didn't end up being special on the field, but this recruiting class certainly could end up being fantastic despite the ups and downs. If they land even half of the elite players they are considered favorites for down the stretch and make an impression on a few others that are planning on visiting before signing day, then this class is going to stay at the top of the rankings in the Pac-12 and be near the top in the nation.
I didn't even get the chance to mention the two Elite 11 quarterbacks, Ricky Town and Sam Darnold, they are bringing in. Both have the potential to be quality starters. Or 4 star cornerback Isaiah Langley, who is a good enough athlete and has the ball skills to be a standout on offense too. And there's also 4 star inside linebacker Cameron Smith, who is enrolling early and should be physically ready to compete from the moment he steps on campus.
Shall I continue?
So, yeah, about that bad news...USC fans really need to get over it. The scholarship numbers are down right now, but they are bringing in the talent and filling out the roster with the kind of athletes that they had during the Carroll era. If he keeps recruiting at this elite level, then Seven-win Steve should be able to shed that nickname in the near future.